As the days and months glided by, our little girls were greeted one autumn morning by the advent of a little baby brother. Wife had given consent, years gone by, for me to tell the foregoing stories of life; but, only a few months before the above event, she had requested the privilege of telling this last story, as the girls would naturally ask of her how the little fellow came. This she told them, in a way no doubt, better than I could have done.

In lecturing to multiplied thousands of boys and many hundreds of girls, I have told the stories of life much as I did to my little girls, with this story added.

Baby animals.—We will now study God’s plan of increase in the higher animals and man. We shall find many striking resemblances and interesting variations between the lower forms of life that we have studied and the higher forms that we shall now study. All along the ascending scale of life we have found male and female organs of sex, possessing male and female natures. We have found that the male organs of sex produce a fertilizing substance called pollen in plants and semen in animals; that the female organs of sex produce seeds in plants and eggs in animals. We have found that every new plant, fish, insect, and bird comes from the union of the pollen with the seed, or the semen with the eggs. This last fact is true of the higher animals and man. We found that the seed of the plants are fertilized in the ovaries of the mother organs; that eggs of fish are fertilized outside of the body of the mother; that the eggs of insects and birds are fertilized inside of the mother’s body. This last plan is also true of the higher animals and man. We found that the seed of plants were sown or planted in the soil; that the eggs of fish were deposited in water; that the eggs of insects and birds were laid in some specially arranged place for them, usually called nests. In the higher animals and man the young starts from a tiny fertilized egg and grows in an organ in the mother’s body, called the womb, until it is strong and old enough to be born.

The earliest stage of plant life in the little seed is called an embryo. When the seed has been planted and the little embryo appears above ground, it is then a little baby plant. The earliest stage of animal life in the egg of the fish, insect or bird, is an embryo. The mother part of the plant stores up food in the seed and the growing embryo feeds upon this food, until its little roots have grown down into the soil where they can take up food from the soil and the blades or leaves are large enough to receive light and heat from the sun and food from the atmosphere. The mother fish, insect and bird store up food in their eggs for the little embryos to live upon until they are hatched. Among the higher animals and man, the embryo begins with the tiny fertilized egg in the mother’s womb and receives nourishment and life from the mother’s blood through a duct, called the placenta, which is connected with the mother’s womb at one end while the other end connects with the body of the embryo at a point called the navel. In this way the mother furnishes the young with all the air, food, water and life that it gets until it is born. Among the higher animals and man the young when born are very tender and helpless. For several weeks or months they are fed on milk from their mother’s breasts. In higher forms of life the birth of young is attended by greater sacrifice and suffering than in lower forms of life. For months, and in the case of man, for years, the parents must labor and sacrifice to feed, protect and educate them. Birth in the human family is attended by greater suffering and the little baby is more helpless and tender, and for this reason requires more tender care than the young of any other animal. You have observed that in the lower forms of life where the parents do not have to suffer to bring their young into{ the world or labor to provide for them food or shelter that they do not love their young. As we ascend the scale of life in our study, we find that love exists between the parents and young just in proportion as the parents suffer and labor for their young.

One of the most impressive and effective ways of telling the story of life in man was told by a wise and queenly mother in the following true story. This mother introduces the story by telling how solicitous she became about her little boy when he was about seven or eight years old. He was in the public school where he was likely any day to hear the story of life from some wicked boy. She was anxious that her boy should hear this story first from his mother’s lips.

How a mother told the story of life to her boy.—In telling the story, the mother said:

One morning, the opportunity that I had been praying and watching for, came. I observed my little boy playing rather roughly, not cruelly, with the pet cat. Speaking kindly to him, I said, “Son, don’t be rough with the old cat; handle her gently.” “Why, mamma?” he replied. “Son, mamma cannot make the reason clear to you now, but you obey mamma and in about ten days, mamma will tell you a very beautiful story, and, then you will understand.” As those days glided by, with pride I observed the unusual attention and kindness he showed the old cat. One morning, about ten days later, he came running into my presence, perfectly delighted, wonderfully elated, and overflowing with joy, he invited me out the back way to see what he had found. I anticipated his discovery, but I wanted him to have all the pleasure. So, I offered him my hand while he proudly led the way. As we stepped from the back porch, turning he pointed his finger under the floor; I looked, and there was the old mother cat and by her side were four as beautiful little kittens, basking in the sunlight, as the human eye ever saw. He bragged about having found them; called my attention to their color and markings; and claimed two of them as his own.

We sat down on a rustic seat where we could still see them. We admired their plumpness, color, eyes and playfulness and chatted together about them. At length I said, “Son, do you remember about ten days ago when you were playing rather roughly and I asked you to handle the old cat tenderly?” Promptly he replied; “Yes, mamma, and you promised me that in about ten days you would tell me a beautiful story that would explain why I should handle the old cat kindly. Can you tell me that story this morning?” “Yes, son, mamma is ready to tell you the sweetest and purest story that a mother can tell her son. When mamma asked you to be kind to the old cat, those fourlittle kittens were then in her body. That was why the old cat was larger than she is now. The little kittens were then much smaller and very tender, and, had you been rough with the old cat, you might have injured them; and, then, they might have been born crippled, deformed or dead. When they were born three or four days ago their little eyes were so tender that the full light of the sun would have put out their sight, so they were born with their eyelids closed and glued together. The old cat knew how tender their eyes would be, so three or four days ago she went away back under the dark floor and gave them birth. As they have grown older and their eyes have become stronger, every few hours the old cat has brought them a few feet nearer the light. Meanwhile, their eyelids have gradually opened until they can now look up at the sun as well as you can. If they had been born out in the open, the full light of the sun would have made their tender little eyes very sore or put them out.”

By this time I saw that my boy was very anxious to ask me a question. I was just as eager for him to ask it. I believed that he was going to ask the very question that my mother heart longed for him to ask; the very question that I believed God wanted my little boy to ask. I paused and looked into his little upturned face. As his deep, true blue eyes met mine, spontaneously, naturally, seriously he enquired, “Mamma, was I once in your body, too?” “Yes, son, you were formed in mamma’s body, in a little nest or home underneath mamma’s heart. You started as a little cell. For two hundred and eighty long days, nine full months, nearly a whole year, you were growing in mamma’s body. Mamma knew that you were there and loved and prayed for you long before you were born. Mamma had to be careful not to meet with an accident lest you might be born crippled, deformed or dead. Mamma had to be cautious about the food she ate, the air she breathed, the water she drank, the exercise she took, all she thought and did; because you were united to mamma by a little cord filled with blood vessels, through which mamma was supplying you from her blood with all the materials necessary for your forming body, mind and soul. In this way you were being influenced by mamma. Mamma was anxious that you might have a healthy and perfect body and grow up to be a smart, good and great man. If mamma had been angry, untruthful or dishonest during these months that you were a part of her, you might have been born with an ugly disposition, tendency to steal or be untruthful. Mamma was very careful about all she thought, said and did during the months you were a part of her body.

“Mamma knew about the day that you would leave your little home and come into this world. For hours mamma suffered great pain. The faithful doctor was present and did all he could to lessen mamma’s suffering. Papa stood at my side, held my hands in his, often stooped over and kissed my lips, cheeks and brow. As soon as you were born, the air rushed into your lungs and you cried, just as all little babies do when they are born alive. Mamma heard your baby cry and it thrilled her with joy known only to a mother, when she knows that her little baby is alive. But, son, when you were born and for many weeks and months, you were tiny, tender and helpless. No one in this world, and, God could not have found an angel in all of heaven who could have cared for you as well as mamma could. Mamma fed you at her breast, held you in her lap, fondled you in her arms and sung lullabies to you. When you were only a few weeks old you would have the colic. All night long your little body would be racked with pain and mamma would walk the floor with you, rub your little body and sing to you.” By this time my little boy was standing up close by my side, had both arms thrown around my neck, his little lips were kissing my cheek, and tears were rolling down his on to mine. Then he said, “Mamma, I am glad you have told me that story. I love you better now. I did not know that you loved and prayed for me before you ever saw me; that you were so careful that I might be well born; that you had to suffer so much when I was born; and that you cared for me so good when I was so small and when I was sick. This story will help me love you better and I will try never to disobey or tell you a falsehood.”


Do you not see how much better it was for this boy to hear the story of his life from the pure lips of his loving mother, than to hear it first from the lips of some ignorant and wicked boy or man? Well this is the story of your life. You cannot understand now how much your mamma suffered in bringing you into this world. Then, both your father and mother have made many sacrifices for you and are deeply interested in your future. If you should make a shipwreck of life, I am sure that their old days would be spent in grief. How can you repay your parents for all their sacrifices? If you will keep your thoughts, words and actions pure, every time your parents see or think of you, they will be thrilled with joy and appreciation. Will you not now promise yourself and promise God that by His forgiveness of the past, grace and help now and in the future, that you will keep yourself pure? When you have done this will you not go and kiss mamma, and tell her that you love her better than ever before and that you are determined to live up to her prayers and wishes?

Extract from EBook of Self Knowledge and Guide to Sex Instruction, by T. W. Shannon

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